The Dark Knight – A Review

Posted on July 20, 2008. Filed under: Reviews, Spiritual Musings |




The Dark Knight – A Review

The Good, the Bad and the Fallen

My anticipation for this new Batman movie, directed by Christopher Nolan (Memento, Batman Begins) was akin to a child on Christmas Eve. I knew that if I waited long enough I’d be presented with something that made neat noises and had cool blinking lights. When I got to the theater to open my gift what did I find? Something really cool that made neat noises and had cool blinking lights! To begin with, the trailers had me riveted (must see trailers of the summer for “Watchmen”, the new James Bond movie “Quantum of Solace” and “Terminator: Salvation”). By the time the actual movie began to play, I already had goose bumps covering my arms.

The basic premise of the movie is that the mob is being run out of town by Lt. Gordon (Gary Oldman) and Harvey Dent (Aaron Eckhart), at times with the help of Batman (Christian Bale). In their moment of desperation, the Joker (Heath Ledger in his final performance) offers his services to bring an end to Batman. The Joker then goes on a rampage of wanton death and destruction bringing forth a new enemy for Batman and even causes the caped crusader to doubt his own worth and place in Gotham society. The better Batman does his job, the worse it becomes for the citizens of Gotham as the criminal element (in this case the Joker) has to become more and more brazen and violent to do what they do, becoming a never ending cycle.

 Ledger’s eagerly anticipated performance was well worth the wait. I found myself genuinely creeped out and disturbed by not only what he said but by how he said it. His movements, expressions, intonations, quirks, hell everything he did was over the top. It was like watching an even more psychotic version of Alex from A Clockwork Orange, a man who merely wants to revel in chaos, destruction and fear. Unfortunately for the rest of the cast, Ledger’s acting nearly overshadows the stellar performances given by everyone else (as a matter of fact, Gary Oldman as Lt. James Gordon blew my socks off again and Eckhart as Dent was mesmerizing.) By far, this is the darkest Batman movie I’ve ever seen.

The parallels that the world of The Dark Knight and our post 9/11 world are as well concealed as a bull in a china shop. An iconic shot of Batman standing amidst the still-burning rubble of a recently bombed building while firefighters scurry around searching the debris brings to mind images of the ruins of the Trade Center after they fell. One line that ends up being said twice in the film is, “You either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” which seems to be the film’s way of questioning whether or not in our own reality we’ve become the bad guys. Though prevalent, these obvious allusions did not detract from the experience of the movie or from the reality of the Gotham’s world.

There was one thought that kept popping into my head as the movie unfolded: people need a savior. They need someone who they know will protect them and they know will be there for them when they are needed. Batman couldn’t always be there and I believe Bruce Wayne stated it best when he said, “People need a hero with a face.” People need a hero that they can identify with, someone they know is like them and has the same hopes and fears which will motivate them to do what is best.

 When God became man, he identified with humanity. He presented us with a savior with the same desires, same temptations, same fears and dreams as we have. We were given a hero with a face. When we needed it most humanity’s hero appeared and saved a dying world while showing us a different way of doing things. He showed us that we don’t have to fear the night, that we are cared about. And much like the Dark Knight, our hero was despised and an outcast but he still did what needed to be done simply because it was the right thing to do.

In conclusion, this movie stirred my mind and sated my imagination. With the emotions, visuals and overall “feel” of the movie, it was a film that was more or less “experienced” as much as watched. It took you to some pretty dark places but it truly stirred your thoughts beyond the celluloid. Great movie, a must see at the theater and most definitely a must buy when it comes out on DVD.


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One Response to “The Dark Knight – A Review”

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“There was one thought that kept popping into my head as the movie unfolded: people need a savior. They need someone who they know will protect them and they know will be there for them when they are needed.”

I don’t agree. If the average citizen needs a hero, then the average citizen – in my opinion – is not mature enough to deal with the harsh realities of life. If this is the message that the presence of comic book heroes give, then we don’t need them.

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